Nova Scotia mining company ordered to pay $125K for offence under the Fisheries Act
February 21, 2022 – Dartmouth, Nova Scotia – Environment and Climate Change Canada
Canadians value a safe and clean environment. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) enforcement officers strive to ensure that businesses and individuals comply with the ECCC-administered laws and regulations that protect Canada’s natural environment.
On February 3, 2022, Atlantic Mining NS Inc. (previously Atlantic Mining NS Corp.) pleaded guilty in the Provincial Court of Nova Scotia to one count of contravening the Fisheries Act. The company was fined $125,000, of which $120,000 will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund, with the remaining $5,000 being a court fine. The company was also fined $125,000 under Nova Scotia’s Environment Act, $120,000 of which will be directed to Indigenous environmental organizations in Nova Scotia, with the remaining $5,000 being a court fine.
In June 2019, an environmental inspector with Nova Scotia Environment notified ECCC of ongoing sedimentation and erosion issues at the Touquoy mine site near Middle Musquodoboit, Nova Scotia.
An investigation by ECCC enforcement officers determined that there were seven separate incidents of unauthorized deposits of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish at the Touquoy mine site in 2018 and 2019. The company failed to immediately collect samples from the area for acute lethality testing and failed to report the results to ECCC following the incidents, as required by the Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations under the Fisheries Act.
In addition to the fine, an order was issued under section 79.2 of the Act, requiring the corporation to carry out a number of actions to improve its response to future incidents. The company must hire a qualified consultant to develop and deliver training to staff on the Fisheries Act, emergency response surface sampling and other environmental response responsibilities. They must also implement a “train the trainer” program to provide training to contractors and employees on environmental topics, and ensure adequate testing supplies are in all vehicles used on site to collect samples for acute lethality testing at the time of an incident.
As a result of this conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.
- Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act, which prohibit the deposit of deleterious substances into waters frequented by fish or in any place where the deposit may reach waters frequented by fish.
- Created in 1995, the Environmental Damages Fund is a Government of Canada program administered by ECCC. The Fund helps ensure that court-awarded penalties are used to support projects that restore the natural environment and conserve wildlife. The Fund receives and redirects the money from court penalties and settlements, usually investing in areas where the environmental damage occurred.
- The Environmental Offenders Registry contains information on convictions of corporations registered for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.
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